- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We Americans love salad and will make just about anything into one. One of the more popular genres is the so-called Chinese chicken salad. No doubt some ingenious American cook came up with adding Chinese ingredients to shredded chicken, and ever since then chefs have never looked back.

I think it would be pretty hard to find any of these versions in China, but that hardly matters.

You can find just about any variation on this modern salad. It can come with bean sprouts, Chinese soft noodles, crispy won ton strips and even hoisin sauce. The first recipe I ever tried was heavy on preserved red ginger.

This Mother’s Day, ask your children to make this for you - or make it for your mom. Serve it on a mound of shredded lettuce for a great main course.

Remember that you can make this up to at least 4 hours ahead and keep refrigerated. This amount will serve 6, but I always hope there is enough leftover for lunch the next day.

Diane’s Chinese chicken salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

DRESSING:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon peanut butter

Pinch sugar

Pinch Chinese hot mustard

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon hot chili oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup dark sesame oil

SALAD:

2 pounds chicken breasts, boned

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 medium European cucumber, julienned

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

2 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage

Combine all ingredients except the oils, and mix well using a whisk. Slowly whisk oils into dressing until combined. Taste for seasoning.

In a medium skillet with high sides or a large saucepan, bring enough water to cover the chicken to a simmer. Add chicken breasts and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on their size, or until just tender. Remove from the heat.

Cool the chicken in the liquid. Drain the chicken and remove the skin. Shred the chicken by tearing the meat into long, thin pieces or cut it with a knife. Reserve in medium serving bowl.

To toast sesame seeds, place in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Shake until seeds turn light brown, about 2 minutes. Remove immediately from skillet.

Combine the chicken, cucumber, carrots, green onions, and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Add the dressing and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Place the lettuce or cabbage on a platter and transfer the chicken salad on. Garnish with sesame seeds and the remaining cilantro. Use tongs to serve.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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